Top chefs know a pinch of this or a dash of that can make all the difference between a memorable meal or a bitter disappointment. It takes a lot of trial and error until just the right combinations come together. The same is also true when discovering and designing the materials we need to solve complex problems in medicine, electronics, transportation and sustainable energy. In many ways, it is a lot like cooking.
“There’s some really interesting things about polymer nanocomposites. These are polymers that have tiny amounts of nanoparticles in them, usually a very small loading, so it’s 99.5% polycarbonate and then 0.5% fairy dust,” says Cate Brinson, the Alstadt Chair, and a Yoh professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke and an expert in polymer nanocomposites.
She is one of the many Duke materials scientists and engineers working at the forefront of design discovery and deployment of the materials needed to drive innovation.
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